Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I really hate to do this, because it's an important campaign for a very serious cause, but who on earth let these ads run with this headline?

If you don't get it, don't feel bad. It just means you're less cynical and paranoid than the average agency or client person. We have to let our minds crawl into the gutter to troubleshoot headlines and images for unintentional (and very unfortunate!) double entendres or easy and damaging parodies. Something everyone involved in these ads seems to have failed to do.

There's a third execution, BTW. And I have no issue with it.

I've seen this campaign on the sides of busses in Ottawa since before Christmas, but failed to get a picture in time. Ironically, I could never remember the call-to-action, and I was afraid that even trying to Google the campaign would get me on some sort of RCMP watchlist. Just this morning, though, I finally found a story about it on CTV.

Cybertip.ca, a national tip line for suspected cases of child exploitation on the Internet, gets operating money from communications giants Bell, Telus, Shaw, MTS Alstream, and SaskTel, among others — including the Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoiba (where the project began).

Obviously, it's in everyone's interest to protect kids while still keeping the Internet reasonably liberated. But as both a creative professional and a parent, I just think it's a shame they didn't look at that copy one more time.

Still don't see it? Good for you. It's better that way.


  1. Seriously. And double entendre aside--the second execution seems to be asking us to bookmark the child pornography. I'm sure this is a case of the client getting antsy and playing with the copy and the writer adding the changes word by word and not really reading it all together. Sometimes we're not all as clever as I like to think we are...

  2. I'm proud of myself for not seeing the problem until Stefanie mentioned a double-entendre.

  3. Copywriting is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, David.

    We're trained to see the worst in things — before someone else does...

  4. While the wording of the first two ads is bad in the first two, it is more effective then the third one - at least I know what I'm supposed to do if I were to come accross it. The third one just sounds like a typical PSA asking people not to look at it, but the first two give people a resource if they do stumble accross it. I know from personal experience (while researching a report on pornography for my Sexuality course) that if someone were to stumble accross it, it is not easy to figure out what to do - who to go to and explain the situation without seeming like a predator yourself. I would have easily known who to contact with the first two ads, but the third one would not have been helpful to me at all.

    Maybe the word "come" is ineffectual, and they should have used "stumble" or something, but all-in-all it is still more effective.